Holiday let boom in Brighton and Hove fuels housing shortage, report finds

The number of holiday lets has doubled in Brighton and Hove in five years and has helped fuel higher rents and more noise complaints, according to a new report.

The report, to members of Brighton and Hove City Council, said that 3,340 local properties and 1,568 rooms were listed on the Airbnb website last month.

In August 2016, there were 1,307 properties listed and 919 rooms, according to the report to the council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee.

In 2018, the Brighton and Hove Visitor Accommodation Study found 2,359 properties on short-term holiday let websites. Of these, 1,254 were on Airbnb, with the second largest number, 403 on TripAdvisor.

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The report also contains the council’s draft response to a government consultation on a proposed “tourist accommodation scheme” to tackle problems caused by the holiday lets boom.

The council said that the effect of short-term holiday lets on the local housing market was a “major problem”.

The sheer number of homes and rooms given over to holiday lets appears to have reduced the number of homes available for long-term rent.

It is “stifling” the supply of rented housing while pushing up prices for renters in a city where there are about 37,500 privately rented homes.

The report said: “Housing demand and rising private sector rents have an adverse effect on the affordability of housing in the city.

“The lack of affordable housing supply has an economic impact on our ability to retain lower-income working households and employment in the city across all sectors.

“With less available stock and the same (or increasing) numbers trying to access this, this will result in higher market rents being charged. We continue to see an increase in advertised rents across most sized properties.”

Data from the Valuation Office Agency and the Office for National Statistics indicate that average rental prices per calendar month are “consistently higher” in Brighton and Hove than in other parts of the south east and England.

The averages are

    • Room – £516
    • Studio – £715
    • One-bedroom home – £930
  • Two-bedroom home – £1,259
  • Three-bedroom home – £1,541
  • Four-bedroom home – £2,235

Noise complaints from holiday lets have increased from 13 in 2018 to 54 last year, with a peak of 80 in 2020.

This year, the council has received 16 complaints and is introducing a central contact for residents to raise concerns about holiday lets.

Councillors are being asked to back sending a response to the government consultation to provide evidence to ministers as they consider a national registration scheme for short-term letting.

In June 2021, the biggest short-term let company, Airbnb, published a white paper calling on the government to create a registration scheme.

The council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee is due to meet at Brighton Town Hall on Thursday (15 September). The meeting is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.

  1. Jane L Reply

    Most properties list on multiple sites and almost all list on AirBnB so there is not a multiple available on all three sites is a duplicate listing.
    The reason there are fewer long-term lets is due to the increasing anti-landlord legislation that has put many people off renting their properties long-term.
    One landlord in the city wholesale took 200 off the long-term rental market because of the constant new demands on landlords.

    • Dr Johnny Munford NCH Lic, MA, BSc(Econ) Reply

      This is utter twaddle. I have been a landlord and a tenant and a property owning resident. It is simply far more profitable in Brighton to do airbnb than to rent on assured short hold tenancies. There are no long term tenancies outside the social housing sector. Large numbers of people now own two or three properties used only for airbnb or similar because of market distortions. They pay council tax when they should pay business rates and VAT since they are effectively hotels.

      I am lucky enough to have a housing association as my landlord. From them I have an intermediate rent tenancy renewable every five years. I pay £650 for one bedroom flat. My rent is not subsidised. In fact it makes an average 5% return on capital after expenses. Private rents should be set as this level – enough for profitable long term investment not greedy short term gain. And airbnb should be restricted to six weeks a year so that it fulfills its original aim. To allow people to have holidays or a bit of extra cash. Not greedy exploitative capitalists.

  2. Robert Pattinson Reply

    Most new builds are taken up by foreign investors just to get money into the UK. So many new build flats just lie empty.

  3. Chris Reply

    Some airBnB houses are lived in by the owner. When being rented out they stay at a friend or relatives place for the week. Easy money. However the issue is going to get worse (as Jane says above) not better for renters as private landlords dump property due to the taxation/green agenda of the government. simple math: If you have to spend £56,000 on an old Victorian 2 bed house to bring it up to EPC “C” and you need it to be repaid in 10 years (useful life of heat pump/solar/LED/UPVC Double glazing) that is £5600 per year increase on the rent (an extra £466 PCM) Add that to the numbers above.. And that is before you pay any interest on the original £56,000 if you have to borrow it.

    • Rachel J Reply

      It also soon won’t even be possible to rent out properties with energy performance certificates below C as this is a simply unattainable target in many older properties in central Brighton. I’ve seen high numbers of properties taken off the rental market for this reason.

      • Chris Reply

        Correct Jane. The change in taxation is widely discussed as an increased cost to the landlord. The reality is that it either becomes non-profitable for the landlord or the rent goes up. There does come a point where the renter just cannot afford it. The silver lining of course is that people who want to buy will be able to (it may even bring down prices a little), but is of no help to those who do not want or cannot get a mortgage.

        Declaration of interest: I have no properties I rent out, I am just concerned for a segment of our community.

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